The environmental damages caused by Armenians abandoning Kalbajar in line with the Russia-brokered peace agreement, by setting fire to houses and forestry areas, could cost up to 50 billion dollars, international law experts tell Conflict & War Report.
Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to end hostilities two weeks ago, after previous efforts by Russia, France and the United States to get a ceasefire fell through.
A key part of the peace deal includes Armenia’s return of Kalbajar, as well as the Aghdam district by November 25 and the Lachin district by December 1, which have been held by Armenians since a devastating war in the 1990s, per France24.
Russian peacekeepers began deploying to Nagorno-Karabakh last week as part of the terms of the accord and took control of a key transport artery connecting Armenia to the disputed province.
In the village of Charektar, on the border with the neighboring district of Martakert which is to remain under Armenian control, at least six houses were on fire last week, with thick plumes of gray smoke rising over the valley, AFP adds.
“All of this happening today is being seen by Azerbaijani population with anger and it is absolutely damaging the peace efforts that the Azerbaijani government takes for the future reconciliation processes.” Baku-based international law expert Tural Ahmad tells Conflict & War Report.
“Most of the cities of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding 7 regions have been devastated for last three decades – including Fizuli, Jabrail, Agdam etc. Burning the forestry and cutting the trees is an ecological terror that is accepted as a continuation of the Armenian terror in the region. “
According to Ahmad, the damages from this environmental terror could be worth up to 50 billion dollars.
“After finishing the calculation of damages by independent experts, these crimes will be taken to international courts to claim monetary compensation in upcoming months, with the estimated cost being 50 billion dollars.” Ahmad points out.
Additionally, there is a visible silence from international environmental activists when it comes to these developments and the intentional deforestation of Azerbaijani land by ethnic Armenians.
Around 60,000 Azerbaijanis that were previously living in the region when it was occupied by Armenia were forced to abandon their homes and were scattered to various regions of Azerbaijan. After the lands have been liberated, Armenians are leaving the once occupied lands, but along the way they have been causing environmental damages and as reports have suggested, also stealing Azerbaijani archeological materials and belongings.